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Posted On: 20 MAY 2018

Stop VIP culture in temples

It is unfortunate that we have extended our social habit of treating VIPs differently to temples. The practice of VIP darshan in all the popular temples of the country needs to be reviewed. All the devotees should be treated equally in the abode of the Lord. By giving preferential treatment to the influential and the elite defeats the whole purpose of religion. There is no doubt that the people have great faith in their religion and all the major temples are visited by millions of devotees round the year. According to an estimate the famous Ayappa temple in Kerala alone gets around 50 million devotees. The popular Vaishno Devi shrine near Jammu attracts more than 50,000 devotees every day. Managing such large numbers is indeed a herculean task. But that cannot be an excuse for mismanagement and the preferential treatment for some. Any amount of rush be managed through efficient planning addressing the logistical issues.

The Swachh Mandir Campaign is all about keeping the temples clean. It also focuses on encouraging temple managements to come up with the solutions to make darshan a memorable event for every single individual who comes to seek the blessings of the God and not just a few who can jump the queue to get express access to the sanctum sanctorum. It will also help in addressing the larger issue of VIP culture that has got deeply ingrained in the national psyche.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken the lead in ending this symptom of an ailment by remove red beacons from government vehicles. The time has come to move beyond these symbolic changes and there is nothing better than starting from our temples which are spiritual lifelines of the nation where people are deeply rooted in their faith.

The Swachh Mandir Campaign is open to ideas from participants and volunteers that can lead to evolving a comprehensive model to end VIP culture in temples.

It can be tried out at any selected premises to begin with and its success can be replicated subsequently. Several temples are offering online "book your darshan" feature. But they are certainly not helping in solving the issue. The use of digital platforms is a must and devotees can be offered comprehensive mobile applications to deal with the rush.

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